Dev Diary 55 - Opinions

Super important implementations of long-awaited features related to Understandings are arrived this week. Now the system is much more deep and role-play-capable than it was before and now is quite close to the design I intended: your people can now be, for example, xenophobic exocannibals, or vegetarian destruction-magic communists, or any other weird combination. I’ll describe the improvements to the system in this post.

Two years have passed since I first showed the game and an unbelievable amount of work was done - surprisingly, it’s still super fun me! So, I counted some pieces of work content that this game uses already, and it’s quite a lot!

  • Firstly, it’s over 65K lines of C++ code already! OMG. There are also Blueprint scripts that take care of UI things, visual polish, and some other things that need to be fast to change and prototype. So I think it’s legit to add at least 20K lines of code from there too (yet, it’s hard to calculate).
  • 71 spells (not quite matching Illwinter’s 1000 spells, but just wait)
  • 74 species (there is no clear distinction between monster types, species, and different variations)
  • 10^24 resource types! Just kidding, they’re procedural. but there are 109 unique resource types.
  • 150 random structures to place in the world
  • packaged game has size of 956M

All of the numbers above (besides size on disk of course) are going to be less determined because of procgen. Procedural species are on their way, and procedural abilities are maybe on their way - these are low priority for a number of reasons.

That is of course a lot, but many of these are prototypes/experiments - many of these will be finished at the late stages of the project; some will get new visual appearances and polish. For now, the most important thing is the gameplay.


So, what are these Understandings? It’s a take on Researches but with a different, roguelitey twist: you accumulate knowledge points via leveling up your creatures and producing things from the laboratory productions category (enchantments, spellbooks, etc) and then buy Understandings for knowledge points. This is a bit different from the traditional 4X approach, where you have to work towards one specific research/tree branch for a lot of turns. Here you have a dynamic implicit research tree that grows depending on your actions in the world.

There are many kinds of Understandings:


You’ll take decisions to shift your folk’s ideas into one of a certain direction. This works as globally-applied effects: for example, if you choose to go towards wage labour from serfdom, you’ll gain certain bonuses - and you can go further back on forward. There are many axes of opinions - from punishing necromancers to using the undead as cheap labor (or running a dark crusade), from encouraging (critical) thinking to indoctrinating certain beliefs and eventually brainwashing.

So, this is the part that was done last week - I implemented 8 opinion scales and a lot of effects for them. There will be deep philosophical ones as well as grotesque stuff like this:


Yeah, opinions UI needs some work, but later.

With opinions, I’ll try to tackle somewhat tickly topics for humanity in the year 2022. Politics, propaganda, mass media, fascism, imperialism, delusions, economics, ethics, etc. All of that can be twisted with fantasy theme, it can be extrapolated ten times to possibly show the player where he could be wrong with his thinking. If you have any ideas of crazy things that can be put here, I’ll appreciate if you share them with me! Would be nice to receive a couple of philosophical directions from someone with “perfect ethics” - but for the time, I’m constantly doing my own research.


Next types are more tangible: there are weapon and building designs (also called blueprints in specific places). When acquiring a weapon design understanding, you’ll be able to produce a new weapon type, like, scythes, or crystal swords, or warhammers.

By acquiring building designs You’ll be able to build new things: stone houses, cane houses, wooden walls, and so on.

On acquiring understanding, you are given a choice of 2-3 designs and new resource production will be immediately available.

There will be also some rare non-weapon and non-building designs, such as parchment.

Magic Schools

Destruction, Alteration, Pyromancy, Necromancy - these are categories of abilities, and you can add spells from these categories to your faction’s known spells (that were implemented in previous update).

An understanding with a magic school contains 6 spells and you can inspect them before acquiring the understanding.


Simple global bonuses - they replaced Opinions before their implementation and will be eventually removed. Global changes to large groups of people don’t happen suddenly, there is a build-up, and a couple of tiny playtests have reaffirmed that opinion system is a lot of more fun than this.


This is a planned, but not implemented yet type of understandings that has something to do with specific resources you find in the world - I’ll describe it when it’s done and tested.

That’s it for understandings!


I’m also working on a faction that plays entirely differently. I won’t tell much about it right now, but here is a sneak peek:


So, besides that, there were a lot of small updates and balance changes. Here is the full log:

  • Understandings overhaul
    • simple upgrades (like, +1 dex) in Understandings are about to be removed
    • there will be so called Opinions which represent short branches/axis of decisions that will shape your folk.
      • for example, you can do towards veganism or cannibalism! Or you may want to make use of undead as working robots instead of thinking that they are unholy and banishing them
      • many opinions will tackle some philosophical and political problems, others will be just weird fantasy stuff you saw above
    • 8 opinion branches (with 4-5 steps each)
    • spell school understandings that add 6 abilities to your faction knowledge
      • spell schools are procedural, but there are 16 templates for them
  • effect system is improved, it is more flexible and almost programmable now
    • effect on attack (with arguments, recursive)
    • effects every turn, on death, kill, etc
  • UI improvements
    • effect labels now show durations
    • improved some effect texts
    • changed how movement arrow looks a bit - they were often confused to be coming from creatures instead of groups
      • arrow collision is now good
  • new content
    • 4 new spells
    • 1 new structure
    • 1 new WIP faction
    • a lot of new amazing bugs
  • balance
    • all abilities have more damage (actually, new “non-magic” abilities do the same amount of damage as old “magic” abilities, and old abilities are stronger now)
    • rebalanced invaders
    • trolls now have a lot of magic defense
    • spell effect durations are now fixed (they don’t depend on levels and wisdom anymore)
    • on level up, creatures gain 2 stat increases instead of 4
    • raised dead power now depends on caster’s wis
    • towers are much stronger
    • cold tower now slows movement and decreases attack instead of just damaging
  • fixes
    • adding production doesn’t falsely remove movement orders now
    • fixed borders visualization gaps
    • fixed “taunt” ability
    • a lot of other fixes